Wednesday, August 27, 2014

PARCC and Test Prep

When PARCC wrote a press release earlier this month addressing some testing concerns, most commentators focused on this quote:

“High quality assessments go hand-in-hand with high quality instruction based, on high quality standards,” said Laura Slover, the Chief Executive Officer of the PARCC nonprofit. “You cannot have one without the other. The PARCC states see quality assessments as a part of instruction, not a break from instruction.”

It's a noteworthy quote, given its baldfaced admission that testing, curriculum, and the standards are all of a piece. The connection between all the parts is not a surprise, but reformsters rarely divert from the standard story of separate lives for their reformy wares.

But plenty of folks have hit that point, and I don't want you to miss this quote that appears a bit further down the page.

“The PARCC assessment system is a new way of testing that reduces time spent on ‘test prep,’ because the only way to prepare for these more sophisticated assessments is through good teaching and learning all year long," Slover said.

That, in one short sentence, attempts the bank shot of changing the definitions of both test prep and good teaching by throwing them into a big cauldron in which they can smush together.

"Test prep" is just "good teaching," and "good teaching" is that which gets students ready for the test. Which is of course what we usually call "test prep."


  1. Hi Peter,
    I've been a long-time reader of your blog, and as an Australian teacher it's always interesting to listen to other systems and how they work.

    I'd be interested to get your opinion on something going on in the Aussie education system at the moment: we've been getting into a national curriculum over the past few years, but perhaps unlike CCSS it's been mostly well-received. I for one feel fairly positive about the progress (not that I see any compelling need for a national curriculum, but the one they're giving us seems nonthreatening and fairly progressive). The website is linked below, and I wonder what your thoughts are on it as opposed to CCSS?

    Joel Alexander

  2. I agree with Stover's comment within your blog entry above. With the hope of helping math teachers to prepare students for the PARCC test, I have prepared resource materials that include text lessons, videos, and interactive quizzes at...

    I am a 20+ year veteran in the field of math education.